Countdown to Halloween #20: Jason Voorhees

Strange how one of the most iconic characters in horror lore were never meant to be. In the original movie, Jason popped up as part of Mrs. Voorhees damaged brain, and then briefly at the very end. Somehow though, the supposed drown child grew up to adult hood and took up a new past time; slashing up camp councilors. It’s not till the third film that he actually grabbed his iconic hockey mask, but boy did things change then. He became a horror movie icon, with his mug splashed all over everything. Heck he even appeared on talk shows where he does not speak! After 8 movies though, people started to tire of machete wielding maniac and he disappeared for a few years when filmmakers sent him to Hell once and for all. Or at least until he popped up again a few years later during a trip into space. We were also shown the residents of Elm Street being used as cannon fodder during Jason’s brief tussle with rival icon Freddy Kruger. Most recently though the character was subject to a 2009 reboot which introduced him to a whole new generation. Why though does he still hold a spot in our hearts? Well let’s have a look…

One of the fun things about Jason is you can never stop him. He just keeps stomping along after you no matter what, and pretty much everyone is guilty. The virgins may last a little bit longer, but come the sequel Jason will have no doubt sorted them out within the first few minutes. Even the video games that came out about the Friday the 13th series have Jason as a pretty much unkillable monster. If he turned up in a room you had the misfortune to be checking out it spelled the end of your life. If you breathe, Jason is going to be after you, the silent assassin never tires and never quits. It’s that unrelenting nature that makes him appealing. The guy has a goal in mind and boy does he put all his heart (well what’s left of it) and soul into it. For the most part this formula is so good they don’t change it. Sure he has been turned into some weird slug that jumps into people’s mouths (ala The Hidden) or pops on a Robocop suit in the future (Jason X), but for the most part he stays a big hunk of rotting meat ready for violence.

There have been attempts to make him more human (Freddy vs. Jason was full of little bits like this) but they never seem to work because he has staked up such a body count all sympathy goes out the window. That’s not what we look for in Jason though, we want him to be a soul-less silent killer because it’s more fun to watch (let us be honest here, Freddy does go on a bit does he not?). To say he is a heartless killing machine though, it is surprising that he likes a good team up. If it is not him working for Freddy, then it is Jason meeting up with fellow killer Leatherface (in the great Jason vs Leatherface comic mini series) or even trying to whip cult hero Ashley Williams chin off in Freddy vs Jason vs Ash series of comic books. He still finds time to star in his own Friday the 13th comic book though, where we see a shocking amount of nudity. Oh yes Jason has been a very naughty boy!

The other thing about Jason is he is inventive. While Michael Myers tends to stick to his trusty knives, bed sheets or just his hands, Jason likes to get the power tools out and have a play. So we have his trademark machete that always gets a bit of red on it, but throughout the series he has used anything he can get his decayed mitts on. Some of my favourites are as follows

Deer Antlers to the chest

Deep fat fryer

Toxic waste

Spear in the unmentionables

Knitting needle in the head

Sleeping Bag

So it’s clear he has a sense of fun about it all. And that’s what the Friday the 13th series is all about in the end. Fun. It’s funny to see what Jason is going to whip out of his bag of tricks next. Obviously a lot of the credit must go to the special effects team on each movie that creates such elaborate deaths but it is the fact Jason is doing them that the viewer cares about (Screw you Fake Jason!).

He is a character who has spanned so many different areas. From comic books to video games, no matter what form his antics take, we love seeing him pop through walls and give everyone a scare. This is horror at its best, and it’s because of this he will always be remembered as that hockey mask wearing psycho.

Oh – Hello.

For more on Jason Voorhees, check out these links…

Friday the 13th Sequel: The Found Footage Approach?
#15 – Countdown to Halloween: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD
The Best of the Genre (By Decade): Top 25 “80s Horror Flicks”
Friday the 13th: Our Favorite Moments from Jason Voorhees and Friends…

Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

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